|©ΘΠξF@||Bio photo courtesy of Jose Miguel Cisneros (JoseMiguel) taken during a shoot in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.|
Ive been shooting pictures since I bought myself a little plastic Diana, many years ago, as a boy in Canada. Processing the first roll of film probably cost more than the camera. It shot great 120 black and white print film. It taught me composition, and how to get close to my subject. Aperture and speed weren't a concern. I shot for cloudy or sunny conditions. Things have changed a bit since then. After holding out for a long time, I'm now shooting with digital.
I see TrekNature as a vehicle to post some of the pictures of nature Ive seen, and through the sharing of knowledge and honest critiques, as a method of improving on my skill. Over the past couple of years I have noticed a real difference to my style of shooting, as well as processing of shots, (and hopefully quality); much of that change is attributable to the members here. I will try to keep my pictures separated between what I call my travel photography and nature. I have set up an account on TrekEarth @ My TrekEarth Site
Ive had several people ask me about my workflow so Ill try to explain it here.
I now shoot in Raw and then process with Photoshop. Ive seen the argument that a photo should be posted without post processing. I dont support this theory. I also dont believe in over processing, but will try to make my shots look as real as possible, based on jpeg duplicates at time of shot, and my memory. By shooting in Raw, the file I start with doesnt include saturation or sharpening, so the file I see at start of processing is pretty flat and dull, and the processing I do may look extensive, but is probably no more than what people would see with in-camera processing. The difference is that I have more control over the end result.
I shoot a lot more now than I used to, and depending on the situation, I might bracket my shots, then discard those that dont represent what I want. The beauty of shooting in digital is that its cheap. So the shot that I might post is one that survived this process, with the light and colour exposures that I want. The weeding out process can happen during several stages. It can happen in camera, before or during the raw conversion stage, or after Ive done some processing. When I download, I will review all of the jpegs; if I dont like them for whatever reason, I delete them (and the raw file that is associated with them).
During the raw conversion stage, I convert up to 9 at a time. Even at this stage I try to force myself to continue to weed out shots that are less than desireable. With this conversion I set the white balance for what seems appropriate, I usually set the vignetting for +25, but will adjust if required, I set the highlights and shadow based on the software indicators, then I adjust the brightness and contrast by eye, while trying to maintain a decent curve in the histogram.
With 9 (or fewer) shots open I examine each one individually and will touch up for dust removal, alignment or any lens distortion. I then use an action which creates a levels layer and establishes white and black points (based on 0% clip in options). The action then creates a curves layer to add minimal contrast (200,203 and 53,50), a Hue / Saturation layer is added with +20 added to master, and an Overlay Layer is added, which has nothing done to it. This is just placed to save me time later, as I will almost always use it when I tweak. The file is then saved as a tiff.
The action, run above, serves as the basis for what I want. If Im going to do anything with the file, such as post it to TE or TN, then I reopen the tiff and perform a final tweak of the data. This could involve total removal of a layer, additions of other layers, or adjustments by eye to the existing.
For the actual posting, I only reduce noise and sharpen once Ive established the final size, so after Ive done all other tweaking, I may run another action. In this action I first reduce the size. I then create a couple of duplicate layers to selectively reduce the noise or to sharpen. In the first duplicated layer I soften (reduce noise on) the entire layer. In the second I may sharpen it in two ways. First I use Smart Sharpen typically @ 90%, .4 Pixels, Radius 1. then sharpen with USM with a low amount high radius, to boost the local contrast a bit. I then apply a mask to each of these new layers.
Manually I may go back and selectively increase the sharpening or noise reduction on each of the layers or I may reduce them by painting the mask black to expose the lower layer, until I have the effect I want.
Finally, just prior to saving, I convert to profile (sRGB) to ensure the colour is going to be appropriate for the web, then save as a jpeg.
Welcome to my site, and happy shooting.
|JF@||Nikon D200, Nikon D300, Nikon F80, Olympus OM2N|
|ΰΎF@||Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer
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